The Los Alamos Symphony Orchestra (LASO) will feature Donna Smith playing George Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F for its Spring Concert 7 p.m. Friday, April 28 at Crossroads Bible Church. LASO will be under the direction of David Chavez, musical director. The concert is free, but donations are gratefully received and appreciated.
This Spring Concert will begin with Robert Ward’s Prairie Overture, a short, but picturesque depiction of America’s prairie country.
It will be followed by Robert Schuman’s delightful Symphony No. 3 “The Rhenish” again reflecting and describing Schumann’s impressions of the countryside of the Rhineland. It was written following a trip with his wife Clara during one of the happiest times in their lives.
Perhaps the most memorable music is the stately low brass chorale of the fourth movement which some writers have thought describe the Cathedral at Cologne and its grandeur. But the music contains much of the lively energetic dance rhythms and melodies of the countryside which is so enjoyable to hear.
The featured work of the evening is Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F performed by longtime resident of Los Alamos and a familiar and frequent performer with the Los Alamos Big Band, Community Winds, and LASO, Donna Smith.
Smith’s understanding and love of George Gershwin’s remarkable jazz style and his great piano contributions to 20th century music goes back many years. She graduated in piano performance and music history and harmony from Warren Conservatory of Music. And has since studied at UNM, been the jazz pianist with UNM Jazz Band and LA Big Band. Her performances of Rhapsody in Blue with both LASO and Community Winds are favorites and memorable.
Written in three movements, the Concerto was commissioned in 1925 by the New York Symphony Orchestra under the leadership of Damrosch who asked Gershwin to compose a full scale piano concerto closer in form to a classical concerto. Gershwin completed the concerto and its orchestration that year and performed it with the symphony in the early part of 1926.